When the University receives a comment from a community member about a neighbouring student, it’s not usually a compliment, says Shelagh Towson, head of the psychology department. That’s why she was so pleased to read an e-mail message from Marion Melville, a long-time resident of Rankin Avenue.
“It is a wonderful tribute to our students that a nearby resident made the effort to send a note of appreciation in to her faculty,” said Dr. Towson.
Charlene Rhead, a fourth-year student of psychology and disability studies, was walking home from the gym in December, one day after a wet, heavy snowfall, and saw Melville struggling to shovel her driveway.
“I went home and picked up my shovel and went over to finish the job for her,” Rhead recalled.
Melville wrote to Towson that the gesture almost brought tears to her eyes.
“Charlene has been so kind to come over each time it snows to shovel the walkways and driveway,” she wrote. “Although I have tried to pay her, she refuses any payment. Hence this e-mail to you: I am hoping that there is some way to honour students for providing unsolicited service to community members. Charlene is a wonderful, selfless, very giving young lady. I am so appreciative of her generosity in helping a local senior citizen.”
For her part, Rhead said she has been getting off easy.
“We’ve only had snow three times this winter,” she said with a smile.
A runner with the Lancer track and cross country programs, Rhead trains six or seven days a week, although her varsity career has been plagued with injuries. Those time management skills have a direct bearing on her ability to help a neighbour.
“There’s time for everything that is important to you,” she said. “You just have to prioritize.”